Tag Archives: sleep apnea

Narcolepsy vs. Sleep Apnea

When I first started working at Monitor Medical and learning all about sleep apnea, one of my initial thoughts was ‘what the difference between this and narcolepsy, they sound pretty similar.’ The simple answer, which I now know, is that a person who suffers from sleep apnea can stop breathing throughout the night which will more than likely lead to daytime sleepiness and other symptoms compared to that of someone who says that they are sleeping well and just falls asleep anywhere at any time (I guess it’s not really all that simple after all!). Now while that sounds like two different things, you’d be surprise to learn just how similar these two sleep disorders are.

Beginning with signs and symptoms – both disorders include symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness. Although, I think those who suffer from narcolepsy worry about this symptom much more than those who have sleep apnea due to the fact that they can literally fall asleep anywhere, at any time. Narcolepsy does not discriminate when it comes to when it hits, it doesn’t care if you are in the car on the way to work, or in a very important meeting; when it hits, it hits and there is pretty much nothing you can do about it.
Another thing that both disorders have in common is sleep paralysis. You know that feeling when you’re tucked away in bed comfortably, and then all of sudden it feels as though someone has pulled the rug out from under you and you’re falling? You wake up right after and sort of move around, right, and then you’re no longer falling? Can you imagine not being able to move? Imagine being frozen in that moment. You’re not able to bring yourself out of that moment. Can you imagine how scary that is? Sleep paralysis doesn’t last for more than a few minutes, but those few minutes can seem like a lifetime when you’re not able to do anything about.

I think the scariest part of narcolepsy is the sudden loss of muscle tone. Scientifically known as cataplexy, this can take the form of slurred speech to weakened muscles. Like sleep paralysis, the lose of muscle tone only lasts a few minutes. Not all individuals who suffer from narcolepsy experience the loss of muscle tone; these ‘episodes’ can also be as rare to occur one to two times a year or be a daily occurrence.
There are a few more symptoms that are more directly related to narcolepsy, however I feel as though we have discussed the most serious ones. Now, it is important to note that patients can suffer from one or both of these sleep disorders at the same time, but having one does not necessarily mean you will have the other. It’s not something that goes hand-in-hand. Being that we are in the business of sleep, it’s good to be aware of the different disorders that are similar to sleep apnea and how they are different.

MedCline and your Comfort

You know that feeling when you’re lying in bed? You’re exhausted, but no matter what you do you cannot find that one comfortable position that will allow you to easily fall asleep. You toss and turn, and toss and turn some more, and still nothing. It’s quite possibly the worst feeling in the world. Luckily, there are a few simple solutions to this issue.

Acid Re-flux Option

MedCline has created the Advanced Positioning Wedge. The pillow has a cut out in which you can slide your arm through, which will remove pressure from on your shoulder and arm while sleeping on your side. Not only is this pillow comfortable and easy to use, but it also helps those who suffer from acid reflux. According to the manufacture, an individual who use the wedge and sleep in the position created by MedCline reduce the amount of exposure to harmful stomach acid. It also assists with a reduction in nocturnal reflux, laryngopharyngeal, silent reflux, post – esophagostomy, and gestational reflux. With your arm secured in the pocket on the pillow, you will not slide down or shift positions throughout the night – which is a good thing, there is less of chance of your actually snoring. The wedge also enhances your entire torso, not just the head and neck area; this is great for support. However, if you suffer from lower back or hip injuries this wedge is not recommended for you. Lastly, you are able to use the wedge with your favorite pillow so added support.

Shoulder Relief Option

Adding the optional body pillow provides another level of comfort as it wraps around your body providing a cradle like environment. Although it is a little pricier, that body pillow really makes a difference, and should seriously be considered when making this purchase.

Or if you prefer, just get the body pillow. You will not have any pressure relive without the wedge, but you’ll have another pillow for your bed – which if we’re being honest, you can never have enough of those – plus this pillow will cradle you throughout the night – like I mentioned – so I’m pretty sure you’re going to sleep like a baby. Another plus – you don’t need to worry about having a cuddle buddy ever again… That’s the best selling point if you ask me.

So if you are looking for the best in comfort, look no further than Monitor Medical. We have just what you need!

Transcend into Travel

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you probably already know that traveling with your CPAP machine can be an annoying experience. The newer machines are much smaller than its predecessors, however, some patients still think of it as ‘too big.’ They also have an opinion on the travel units as well – they are too expensive. While I do agree that they are on the pricier side, I also think that travel machines are good investments provided you are one to travel frequently and, of course, you can afford it. Thanks to Transcend, patients have a few more options to choose from when selecting which travel device they’d like to invest in.

Somnetics (the manufacturer of Transcend) has revamped its units and created something a little smaller, but better for patients: the Transcend 3 miniCPAP and the Transcend 365 miniCPAP.

The Transcend 3 features the same small design that patients are accustomed too with upgraded features such as a new modern design, a flat silicone base for better stability, and a swivel nozzle for a better CPAP experience. Like the machine before it, this third version has power/battery options depending on your specific needs. Of course it features the EZEX pressure relief, an adjustable ramp time, and monitors your AHI and leaks and compliance data. It can be used as a CPAP or Auto CPAP and works with operating pressures 4 – 20. The setup kit includes the machine – duh – a padded travel case with compartments, a standard six-foot hose, a multi-plug universal AC power supply with international plug kit, mini USB cord, and the Transcend 3 miniCPAP quick guide.

The Transcend 365 seems to be the ultimate travel machine as it is small and compact, and offers a humidification feature. The design of the 365 is different from that of the three, but it is still considered to be a version of the miniCPAP. The main difference between the two machines is that the 365 has a battery powered humidification system. It is the first machine to use the capillary force vaporizer (CFV). CFV delivers warm, moist air to you only when you inhale to provide comfortable therapy when needed. It uses about half the water of a regular CPAP humidifier and much less energy as well. The Transcend 365 setup kit comes with the machine, a secure padded travel bag with storage compartments, an AC power adapter with international power cords, a USB cord, and a quick start guide.

Both machines have a new larger and brighter LED screen which will allow patients to view their usage and compliance easily without any issues. Both machines are pretty simple to use and seem as if they allow for traveling with your machine much easier!

Dream…Wisp

If you’re a CPAP user I’m sure you have heard of the Dreamwear mask at this point – either the original mask, the nasal pillow mask, or the full face mask. The product has been pretty successful in the CPAP industry and has quickly become a favorite among many patients. It seemed as though Respironics has the ideal mask created, and there was an option for everyone. However, it looks like they are always striving to do outdo their best work, and looks as if they have accomplished their goal with this new mask – the DreamWisp.

Yep, you guessed it the dreamwisp mask incorporates the best qualities of the DreamWear and the wisp mask. According to the website, the “DreamWisp was designed to help you sleep comfortably with every turn. Combining DreamWear’s top-of-the-head tube design with the Wisp’s minimal contact nasal cushion, DreamWisp gives you the freedom to sleep in any position through the night.”

The mask is easy to attach and simple to adjust, making it easily convenient. It has magnetic clips that allow for quick attachment and detachment. In studies done prior to launch, it seems that patients were happy with the seal the cushion provides. This mask also come in handy for those who like to read or watch television prior to going to sleep as it does not obstruct the view in any type of way; it is also good for patients who wear glasses.

The mask comes in petite, small, medium, large, and extra large sizing. It also has two additional connector options in case the patient needs a larger frame. It is made up of silicone, polycarbonate, polyurethane foam, nylon, spandex, polyester, magnet, and acetal. It has multiple exhalation ports which allows for a quieter environment and is compatible with any pressure – 4 through 30.

The mask seems to be easy to use and will be a hit among the patients.

Sleep Apnea can cause what…?

At this point we know that there are numerous things that can cause sleep apnea, and that sleep apnea can cause numerous other conditions as well. With as much as I have learned about this disease – for a lack of a better word – what I have recently discovered is the most surprising; there have been a few different studies that have linked sleep apnea to cancer.

While the research linking sleep apnea to cancer is not as pronounced as the link between sleep apnea and cardiovascular disease, it is most definitely something to take under advisement and treat said condition.

There have been two different studies conducted – one in Spain and the other in Wisconsin. Both studies followed a number of patients that suffer from breathing issues, like sleep apnea. The results from the study conducted in Spain showed that about 65% of the patients who suffered from the most severe form of sleep apnea were at a higher risk of developing cancer. The study in Wisconsin was conducted among government workers, and the results showed that those with the most breathing abnormalities had five times the risk of dying from cancer compared to their counterparts that do not have any breathing abnormalities. There was no specific type of cancer linked, they study was a general observation of the link between sleep apnea and cancer.

Renowned scientists have said that more research is needed when linking the two together – something more sustainable. However, there have been a few animal studies that have shown some connection between low-oxygen environments (similar to what someone with sleep apnea would experience throughout the night while sleeping) and the progression of cancerous cells at a rapid pace. Another study conducted at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found that “the more severe a person’s breathing problems at night, the greater likelihood of dying from cancer.”

As if not wanting to get a solids night sleep was not enough, I would think that this is would be the deciding factor to see your physician concerning your possible sleep apnea symptoms. I know in this day and age a new study is done every other day linking everyday, simple things to cancer. Most people I know choose to ignore said studies, but this one is not something that we should ignore.

Find out more about the studies here: https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/sleep-apnea-tied-to-increased-cancer-risk/

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